Silica sand consists of fine pieces of quartz and other minerals such as salt, silt, clay, dust and various powders. Washed sand goes through a cleaning or “washing” process that removes these additional substances.

MS Industries is a provider of naturally occurring smaller sized silica sand with microproppants and proppants. Our sand is ideal for fracking, which requires smaller sized sand to fill the cracks during the process. Our silica sand is naturally occurring and costs less than other brands. It also has a high purity (greater than 99%), exceeding purity levels of our competitors.

The Characteristics of Silica and Washed Sand

Silica Sand

Silica sand can range from nearly transparent to a darker gray. It is an odorless powder that can cause irritation to the skin or eyes on contact. Inhaling silica sand will also irritate the respiratory tract. In fact, the fine particulates of silica dust from quartz rock contribute to chronic, progressive lung injury, known as silicosis. Additional physical properties include:

  • Molecular Weight: 60.084 g/mol
  • Exact Mass: 59.966756 g/mol
  • Boiling Point: 4046°F at 760 mm Hg
  • Melting Point: 3110°F

Silicon dioxide (SiO2) is a naturally occurring compound of silicon and oxygen. This is the primary compound present in silica sand, which occurs in three main crystalline varieties, including quartz, tridymite, and cristobalite. Covalent bonding of a single silicon atom with two oxygen atoms, creating linear triatomic molecules, forms SiO2. Additional chemical properties of silica sand include:

  • Solubility: Insoluble
  • Vapor Pressure: Approximately 0 mm/Hg
  • Heat Combustion: Noncombustible

Washed Sand

Washed sand can begin as silica sand or any other type of sand and undergoes a washing and rinsing process after mining. Salt, clay, silt, and other powders and dust are washed out of the overall mixture. Washed sand often undergoes additional separating and classification into grain sizes or grit sizing.

The common types of washed sand are as follows:

  • Concrete Sand. This type of washed sand is mixed with concrete or asphalt for construction purposes and provides a smoother pour and cleaner finish.
  • Masonry Sand. Similar to concrete sand, masonry sand is mixed with concrete for construction purposes. This is usually a finer grit sand, which is sifted to achieve greater grain uniformity necessary for masonry bonding.
  • White Sand. This sand is mostly applied where aesthetics are the objective. Sand traps, manmade beaches, beach volleyball courts, and play sand. When the white color isn’t naturally available, limestone is added as a whitener.

Because of washing and sorting, washed sand varieties usually carry a higher price tag than silica sand offerings.

Differences Between Silica Sand and Washed Sand

Applications of Silica Sand and Washed Sand

Both silica sand and washed sand are available for a broad range of applications. Similar applications where use of either is common include:

  • Landscaping
  • Pool installations
  • Providing traction for cars and trucks on slick roads
  • Concrete and mortar mixing

Applications where silica sand is the better choice include:

  • Sand blasting
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Water filtering
  • Backfill for electrical lines and pipes
  • Fracking

Applications where washed sand is preferred include:

  • Mortar mix for brick and stonework
  • Man-made beaches
  • Beach volleyball courts

Silica Sand Options for Your Next Project

MS Industries provides silica sand for a variety of applications in industries like:

  • Oil and Gas
  • Construction and building
  • Tile
  • Roofing
  • Foundry
  • Fiberglass and glass

Contact us to learn more about how silica sand will provide the best solution for your application or request a quote from an MS Industries expert.

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